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Rev Stephen Holland protests at consecration of two women bishops at Canterbury Cathedral

A hardline evangelical minister is protesting the consecration of two women bishops at Canterbury Cathedral.

Stephen Holland was due to attend the ceremony today, arguing that it is “unbiblical” that Jo Bailey Wells and Jan Mcfarlane become bishops.

Rev Holland, whose independent church is in Bolton, Lancashire, travelled to Canterbury specifically to protest.

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Rev Stephen Holland protesting against the consecration of women bishops outside Canterbury Cathedral
Rev Stephen Holland protesting against the consecration of women bishops outside Canterbury Cathedral

“I believe the consecration of women bishops is unbiblical and contradicts scripture and I have protested against this at Westminster and York Minster,” the 49-year-old said.

“This protest is nothing to do with superiority or inferiority or even ability.

“It is to do with the creative issue. Men are providers and protectors and men are called upon to lead and this threatens to upset that and the part that men have to play.

“Men have led for 2,000 years, but consecrating women bishops overturns the idea of Christ as the head of the church.”

Rev Holland has been a minister for 16 years and is not part of the Church of England.

He says his church adheres to a conservative and strict understanding of the Bible.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby led the ceremony. 

The Church of England was for many years divided on the issue of women bishops and only consecrated its first at York in January of last year.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has said: “It is high time we had women bishops. I have been praying and working for this day.

“In a few years’ time when more and more women will be bishops, I predict we shall be wondering how we ever managed without them.”

 Ms Macfarlane and Ms Bailey Wells will become the ninth and 10th female bishops consecrated by the church and will serve the dioceses of Dorking and Repton respectively.

Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Picture: SWNS
Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Picture: SWNS

In 2012 Ms Mcfarlane said the church had waited long enough for women bishops even if there was still division in the General Synod, the legislative body of the church.

She said: “This will be a means of allowing God’s grace to shine through, and to show to an imperfect and cracked and broken world that it is possible, with God’s grace, to live together in unity even when we disagree.”

Canterbury Cathedral spokesman Adrian Smith said: “During the service there was an objection after which the Consecration proceeded as planned.”

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